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Spotlight On The Grand Circuit

Published: April 8, 2021 8:52 am ET

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The publicity department for the Grand Circuit has sent its weekly recap and preview of racing on the Grand Circuit.

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features two $35,000 divisions on Friday (April 9) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (April 12) card at Yonkers will see three $40,000 divisions in the fifth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers.

Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19).

Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last Time: This Is The Plan, Western Joe, and Leonidas A scored victories in the trio of $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night (April 5) at Yonkers Raceway.

After finishing second in all three of his appearances in the series coming into this leg, This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) broke through for the first time in style, taking the opening split in 1:51.1.

Gingras fired This Is The Plan to the top from post four and he would put up fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:23.3 before he closed in :27.3 to win by three lengths over pocket-sitter Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton). Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno) held third over Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn).

Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a six-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 15-time winner in his career and he pushed his earnings to $1,806,700.

Blue Ivy didn’t get all of the respect on the tote board, but the five-year-old mare had her say in a powerhouse performance, capturing the first of two $35,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker divisions on Friday (April 2) at Yonkers Raceway.

Sent off as the surprising 7-5 second choice, Tyler Buter put Blue Ivy into the three-hole entering the first turn as 3-5 favorite Keep Rockin A made the lead easily for Tim Tetrick and marched to the quarter in :27.4. With just five in the field, Tetrick was able to back down the pace with the Jim King Jr.-trained import. The slow half didn’t shake Buter in the least as he waited until midway down the backstretch to energize Blue Ivy. It didn’t take more than 50 yards for Blue Ivy to engulf and dispose of Keep Rockin A, as that mare slowed markedly into the final turn.

After three-quarters in 1:25, Blue Ivy kicked home in :28 and scored by open lengths in a 1:53 mile. Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) was able to come up the pylons late to secure the place spot, with Caviart Cherie (Matt Kakaley) third in the mile.

It was Blue Ivy’s second win in the series, to go along with two second-place finishes, for trainer Todd Buter. Owned by Renee Bercury, Blue Ivy, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, paid $4.80 for the victory.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2021 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through April 5, 2021):

Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy – 50; 2 (tie). Andrew McCarthy – 47; 2 (tie). George Brennan – 47; 4. Austin Siegelman – 44; 5. Tyler Buter – 34.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 92; 2 (tie). Jeff Cullipher – 30; 2 (tie). Mike Deters – 30; 2 (tie). Todd Buter – 30; 2 (tie). Sheena McElhiney – 30.

Owners: 1 (tie). Jesmeral Stable – 30; 1 (tie). Renee Bercury – 30; 3. Eric Prevost – 28; 4 (tie). Burke Racing Stable – 26.8; 4 (tie). Weaver Bruscemi – 26.8.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue at Yonkers with the finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata on April 19.

(Grand Circuit)

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